In light of some recent discussions about new uses of technology, an article in the May-June issue of Museum, journal of the American Association of Museums, caught my eye. The article concerns smart phones--cell phones with web access--being used more and more as a gallery tool. The educational opportunities are exciting as are the "tracking" capabilities of such applications. Marketing and visitor services departments, among others, can quickly receive demographic and behavioral study information previously very difficult to acquire.
But what about the "swoon" a few recent blogs have suggested; will it be lost in the midst of touch screens and their graphics, YouTube videos, and personalized sound effects? I understand visitors might want immediate information/gratification of THEIR choosing and that museum staff like the idea of visits being more interactive and social. However, I mourn the potential loss of quiet contemplation, if that's what I want to experience, not to mention browsing the glossy gift shop catalog essays (and buying them if I am truly swept away), reading the curatorial insights on the wall labels, even glancing at the "old-fashioned" guest book comments to see what others might have written. It is the "swoon" experience of the actual object(s), not the app., that I have come to expect from great museums. It's the art I want to see and "feel", not my cell phone!